BlackBerry 10 Yet To Receive Approval For UK Government Use

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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BlackBerry says BlackBerry 10 has not been ‘rejected’ – it just hasn’t been approved yet

BlackBerry’s aspirations in the UK could have been dealt a blow after a report claimed that BlackBerry 10 has not yet received approval for government use by the Communications-Electronics Security Group (CESG).

The Guardian says that the mobile operating system and its BlackBerry Balance feature, which separates personal and work data, have so far failed CESG’s security tests. This means that certain departments will not be able to use the BlackBerry Z10 and upcoming BlackBerry Q10 for sensitive data.

BlackBerry has denied reports that BlackBerry 10 has been rejected by the UK government and that it would be working with the CESG to ensure that it receives a similar level of approval to BlackBerry 7.1, which has been approved for government use as ‘restricted’ security levels.

BlackBerry 10 government use

BlackBerry Z10 Apps“Media reports alleging that BlackBerry 10 has been ‘rejected’ for UK government use are both false and misleading,” a company spokesperson told TechWeekEurope. “BlackBerry has a long-established relationship with CESG and we remain the only mobile solution approved for use at ‘Restricted’ when configured in accordance with CESG guidelines.”

“This level of approval only comes following a process which is rigorous and absolutely necessary given the highly confidential nature of the communications being transmitted,” they continued. “The current re-structuring of this approval process, due to the Government Protective Marking Scheme review and the new CESG Commercial Product Assurance scheme has an impact on the timeline for BlackBerry 10 to receive a similar level of approval.”

BlackBerry has made moves to attract and retain enterprise customers in the UK since the platform launched earlier this year and recently received an order for 1.800 BlackBerry Z10 smartphones from the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust for its employees.

Failure to secure government approval would be a huge blow to BlackBerry as the government and the NHS are two of the company’s biggest clients in the UK. However the Canadian manufacturer seems confident that approval remains a formality, given that BlackBerry 10 has been approved for use by the US and German governments.

“We are continuing to work closely with CESG on the approval of BlackBerry 10 and we’re confident that BlackBerry 10 will only strengthen our position as the mobile solution of choice for the UK government,” said BlackBerry.

Update: CESG has said that it has not carried out any security tests on the BlackBerry 10 but plans to issue guidance later this year and is confident that the platform will be suitable for government use.

“Discussions with BlackBerry are ongoing about the use of the BlackBerry 10 platform in government,” said a CESG spokesperson. “We have not yet performed an evaluation of the security of that platform, but we expect to be issuing Platform Guidance in the summer. This will cover a number of platforms including Blackberry 10 (and the use of ‘Balance’).

“We have a long standing security partnership with BlackBerry and this gives us confidence that the BlackBerry 10 platform is likely to represent a viable solution for UK Government.”

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